University of Mississippi

Karen Raber

After beginning my career with scholarship on early modern women writers, I’ve moved into the newly burgeoning fields of animal studies and ecocriticism. I’m always especially interested in the details of early modern everyday life in all its bizarre complexity, hence some of my recent work on pearls, or about discourses that shaped Renaissance conceptions of the body and its faculties. My new book project examines the nuances of embodied existence as it was shared by early modern human and non-human animals: in it, I deal with the function of animals in shaping the practice of anatomizing the body; their role in the negotiation and definition of urban space and in the contestation of land boundaries and legal rights; the histories and meanings animals convey when turned into household objects; and the ways they complicate early modern sensory existence. Outside of academics, I compete in FEI level dressage, and live with my husband, six cats, two horses, and a dog.


  • Ph.D., University of California, San Diego (1995)
  • M.A., Univ. of California, San Diego (1992)
  • B.A., Yale University (1983)

Research Interests

  • Early modern British literature and culture
  • Early modern women writers feminist theory
  • Cultural studies
  • Horses and horsemanship in early modern England/Europe
  • Animal Studies
  • Ecocriticism

Selected publications:

  • Animal Bodies, Renaissance Culture.  Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013. 
  • Ed., and Intro., Early Modern Ecostudies: From Shakespeare to the Florentine Codex, with Tom Hallock and Ivo Kamps.  New York:  Palgrave, 2009. 
  • Ed. The Culture of the Horse:   Status, Discipline, and Identity in the Early Modern World, with Treva Tucker.  New York:  Palgrave Press, 2005. 
  • Ed. William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure:  Texts and Contexts, with Ivo Kamps.  New York:  Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2004.
  • Dramatic Difference:  Gender, Class and Genre in the Early Modern Closet Drama. Delaware:  Univ. of Delaware Press, 2001.
  • “Chains of Pearls: Gender, Property, Identity,” in Ornamentalizing the Renaissance, ed. Bella Mirabella (University of Michigan Press, 2011): 159-180. 
  • “Vermin and Parasites:  Shakespeare’s Animal Architectures,” in “Ecocritical Shakespeare,” ed. Linda Bruckner and Daniel Brayton, (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Press, 2011): 13-32.
  • “How to do things with Animals:  Thoughts on/with the Early Modern Cat,” in Early Modern Ecostudies: From Shakespeare to the Florentine Codex, ed. Tom Hallock, Ivo Kamps, and Karen Raber (New York:  Palgrave, 2009): 93-114.
  • From Sheep to Meat, From Pets to People:  Animal Domestication 1600-1800” in A Cultural History of Animals, Vol. IV: 1600-1800, ed. Matthew Senior,  (London:  Berg, 2007): 73-99.
  • “Recent Ecostudies in Tudor and Stuart Literature,” ELR 37:1 (Winter 2007): 151-71.



W203 Bondurant Hall
kraber at